U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Journalist hit with paintballs while covering a pro-Trump caravan in Portland

Incident Details

Date of Incident
August 29, 2020
Portland, Oregon


Was the journalist targeted?
August 29, 2020

Cory Elia, an editor at Village Portland and host of a KBOO podcast said he was hit with projectiles that he identified as paintballs while covering a pro-Trump caravan that went through downtown Portland, Oregon, on Aug. 29, 2020.

Elia was covering the “Trump cruise rally,” which began at the Clackamas Town Center parking lot, about nine miles outside of Portland. Trump supporters were met with counterprotesters as they drove through the downtown, sparking confrontations, according to local news outlet KATU.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reported online videos showing the “flag-adorned trucks driving through groups of protesters, firing paintball guns at crowds and deploying what appears to be pepper spray,” leading to “dangerous, tense confrontations.”

Elia tweeted a video of a Trump flag-adorned truck driving away. “This truck start shooting at counter-protesters and then came under attack. I got shot right in the corner of my mouth by a projectile.”

Elia told the Tracker that they had been firing projectiles before his video even started and had been for quite a while. “I was struck in the cheek with the paintball and it left a small welt,” he said.

He also tweeted a photo of an orange round, writing “This is the exact projectile that hit me. I’m good.” Elia said he had a large press marking on his bulletproof vest and several credentials around his neck.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting assaults, arrests and other incidents involving journalists covering protests that have broken out across the country in response to police violence and in support of Black Lives Matter following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].